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Published: Friday, 1/3/2003

Nominees sought for port board

A week after the death of businessman George Ballas, the Lucas County commissioners plan to issue a community-wide request for applicants to fill his seat on the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

Commissioners Harry Barlos and Maggie Thurber said yesterday the board will ask the public Tuesday for recommendations to fill the post of Mr. Ballas, 74, who died Dec. 26 from a burst artery.

The commissioners hope to make an appointment by Jan. 31, though that depends on the quality and number of applicants, they said.

The port authority runs the region's seaport, train station, and two airports. It arranges low-interest loans for expanding businesses, and it pays for most of the budget of the area's lead economic development agency, Regional Growth Partnership.

The port authority is overseen by a board of 13 unpaid members, mostly culled from business and real estate circles. Six members are appointed by county commissioners, six by Toledo city leaders, and the 13th appointment is made jointly.

County commissioners appointed Mr. Ballas in June, 1998, to serve out the remaining term of William Boyle. Mr. Ballas was reappointed to a four-year term in July, 2001. His replacement will serve until at least July, 2005.

“I'm sure in the next few days, we'll start hearing some names, and I welcome that,” Mr. Barlos said. “I think the process will be very competitive and very active, and I'm sure the Board of County Commissioners would welcome all individuals who feel they can contribute.”

The board of commissioners has two new faces: Ms. Thurber and Commissioner Tina Skeldon-Wozniak. Mr. Barlos has served nearly four years.

Ms. Thurber, the first Republican to serve as a commissioner in more than a decade, said the new makeup could help it attract some applicants who many not have previously applied. “I think all of us are in agreement that we should let the public know that, if they have an interest, we want to know about it,” she said.

Ms. Skeldon-Wozniak was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Commissioners also are seeking applicants for vacancies on other boards, including the county's workforce policy board, where two of the 21 slots are open.



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